Tag Archives: crying

Forgiving the Unforgivable

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

My grandpa sold me for sex when I was a child. There is a poem here.

It is okay. Really. This story will show you how I am more than okay.

My grandpa also sexually assaulted me many times before he sold me. In navigating my healing, I found a level of compassion for him that was beyond my human capacity. I wrote about that here. But in early 2014 I realized my forgiveness had hit a wall. I saw his act of selling me as:

U n f o r g i v a b l e.

My journal says: “Grandpa, my forgiveness will not extend that far. I am pissed that I have so much damage to navigate from your evil-ness. If you were still alive, I would send you to jail. I want to feel safe and you stole that from me. I hate that I cannot still the voice that says I am less than the other people in the world. I hate that my worth, my value was put into dollars. Will I ever be able to forgive you? My anger is so huge, it feels like the Earth will shake and buildings will crumble if I let it out. I cannot imagine this rage being replaced with forgiveness.”

Even thought it seemed impossible, I wanted forgiveness for what it had to offer ME even though I had no idea of what it would feel like or look like. I did not know how unforgiveness was holding me back because I had carried it with me since I was 5 in an unconscious way. Now, I was willing to let go. But I needed help.

This was the condition of my heart and mind when I went to a Dances of Universal Peace Retreat in May of 2014 with a simple prayer, “Let this retreat serve my highest good.”

The first morning I was up with the sun writing, singing, and praying by the stream. Once the morning dance was about to begin I entered the lodge and a friend of mine greeted me by falling on the floor and kissing my bare feet. This took my words away – I had not ever been greeted like this before. He said, “Isn’t that how we are to greet Goddesses?” I mumbled something, unsure of how to be gracious about such a gesture. He smiled and asked that I take it in. I said I would work on it.

One of the dances was about Mitakoye Oyasin, A Lakota phrase meaning All My Relations. Mitakoye: All beings in all levels of creation. Oyasin: Call you & draw you closer to the deepest love of your soul. Somewhere in the course of the song, God pricked my heart and asked if I could bring my grandfather front and center to sing this song with him.

After a few tearful rounds of the song, I told God I would extend the olive branch and take one small step toward my grandfather. That was all I could manage in that moment. The edges of my heart started to ache. I was completely okay with taking my time navigating forgiveness. I had deep compassion for myself first. After all, this was a biggie.

After that song we had a silent meditation time and I opened my journal to write and God asked, “Could you kiss the feet of your grandfather and call him Beloved?” Then I wrote: “God prepare my heart. I want to run away right now.” And then I did – I ran to the stream and sobbed. Sobs that shook my being on every level, loosening the roots of unforgiveness.

All day my prayer was, “Prepare my heart.” I could not fathom how forgiveness might occur. My grandfather was dead so how would I know I had truly forgiven him? And because he was dead, a small voice said, “Well, you don’t have to really kiss his feet.” Part of me was relieved.

I also was being incredible gentle with myself with messages like:

“I might not find forgiveness until the last breath I take, and that is ok.”

“It might take 20 or 40 years to figure out how to forgive him, and that is ok.”

At the end of the first day I was exhausted.

Day 2: My heart chakra literally ached – it was being opened and stretched and expanded.

My prayer by late morning was, “Oh God, Sustainer of my Soul.” I felt the weight of my anger in my being and it was heavy and frightening. Once again I ran to the stream, dropped to my knees, and this time I threw rocks in water yelling “FUCK YOU!” over and over – covering all the reasons I was angry with him. My anger spilled out into the quick moving stream and she carried it away.

Then I climbed on some huge trees that had been pulled up by the floods of the previous fall. I wrapped my arms and legs around the trunk of one and cried into the tree:

I am sorry for
my little girl inside,
all 5 year old children with out love,
what you did to yourself grandpa,
what you did to humanity,
the beautiful trees that are dead now from the flood,
the space in me that seemed dead for 41 years,
the effort it has taken to resurrect that space, to learn to breathe in that space,
all the physical pain that I feel,
the land torn apart by the flood water,
my little girl that has felt uprooted and lost since that very first time of being sold,
my Self having felt displaced, not valued, unloved, and unlovable.

Then I said “I LOVE YOU” to all these aspects. This emotionally laden process just kept unfolding. Yes, it was painful – and beautiful. I was surrounded by God’s love and Mother Earth, offering infinite support. God was totally leading the way to forgiveness – these sure weren’t my ideas!

Then I had a picture enter my minds eye: a ceremony where my friend stands in as my grandfather and I kiss his feet and I hug him and call him Beloved Grandfather. I immediately gave myself permission for this ceremony to be many months, if not years away from happening. And perhaps, the first time it is done, I call it practice.

By the end of day 2 I asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather. He said he would be honored. I explain that I have no desire to rush this process, it could be the next day or many years away.

Day 3 I woke with a headache from all the emotional processing. The dances that morning were soothing and I continued my prayers, “God, prepare my heart, sustain my soul.” During the silent meditation time I wrote out my Healing Intentions:

1. Heal ME. This is for me and only me. I feel the ache and the weight of unforgiveness and I am tired of dragging it around. Fill up that space where unforgiveness has lived with love and wisdom.
2. Reach across TIME and extend the choice of healing to my grandfather, because it is never just about me and my healing.
3. Let my forgiveness ripple out into the WORLD to further heal all crimes against humanity in this spectrum.
4. Allow me to remember this was a crime against himself and all of humanity as much as it was a crime against me.

At the end of the morning, we were seated in a circle sharing our retreat experiences. There was a silence and God prompted me. I shared that my grandfather had committed crimes against me as a child and God had prepared me to forgive him. I had asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather and I invited anyone to witness this ceremony. My friend started removing his socks as one of the leaders said, “How about now?” My reply was, “I am ready.” My heart really was ready – I was not forcing anything to happen, it was completely ready in all ways. It was miraculous.

I kneeled, kissed his feet, and called him “Beloved Grandfather” in an embrace. I felt infinitely lighter immediately.

I went deep inside and stretched my heart so much it felt like the sun had taken up residence. I am still in awe at the way God supported me in this process. It was not practice. It was, and is, forgiveness – the real thing.

Forgiveness is freedom. I took a chance, I said yes, I want this healed. I trusted the process and stepped into the opportunity that God provided, and I found JOY.

Keep reading: Part 2 What Forgiveness Meant to Me, Literally

Read more about who the heck I am: https://iamangela.org/about/

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Day 5: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 5: The Yoga of Self-Care
1. Remember to notice your breath and how it changes with situations, emotions, triggers, people.
2. Add an intention that includes something that feels miraculous to you right now. Miracles happen.
3. Nothing ever gets resolved with out ACTION. Run, walk, dance, jig or two-step your way into movement.
4. Being willing to seek out the root of your shit-storm is HUGE. Give yourself a big hug and eat some ice cream. Call on a friend and professionals.
5. This self-help method can be used anywhere with any problem.
Massage therapists always say: The issues are in the tissues. I agree – our body holds much wisdom and has a memory far more powerful than we probably know. It is incredibly important to honor, honor, honor what the body has to say during any healing process. This is one method I use in my 1 on 1 healing sessions frequently. There are many methods – use what works for you. I do encourage folks to do this on their own and when receiving care from a chiropractor, acupuncturist, yoga class, meditation time, massage therapist, dancing, etc. There are a gazillion ways to heal and this can be used and adapted for just about any modality.
Sit quietly and note where in the body you feel pain, discomfort, soreness, tightness, etc.
Set intention to be able to hear the message(s) your body has for you and make a clear direct statement that you are seeking wisdom from your body and are willing to hear what it has to say. Do your best to empty your mind and create space for the message(s) to come in without judgement. Use your breath to clear and absorb several times throughout the process.
You can hold, tap, or massage the sensitive point you have identified. As you begin to do this, see what situations, people, relationships, thoughts come to mind.  Allow the tears, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc. anything that surfaces, to flow. Each emotion needs to be honored. Once you think you have the emotional root, thank your body for holding space for this to be honored. Reassure the body that you are committed to resolving the issue and ask if your body would like to have you check in again. If yes, ask when. Send a huge dose of love to this part of your body. Then imagine wrapping yourself in a beautiful soft blanket soaked in love. Give your body permission to absorb the healing of love.
Then do some art, writing or whatever process feels good to you to absorb the new information. Process with a friend or professional if needed.
I suggest ending with a positive mantra/statement (or several) to tap into whatever part of the body feels natural to be tapped on (or massaged or held) and do that until you feel peace in all ways. Mantra suggestions: I am grateful for my innate wisdom. I love my body and our memories. I am grateful for being open to discover a layer of myself that deserves healing. I am committed to healing this wound completely. I honor this wound as a part of who I am and I know that I am whole, even with wounds waiting to be healed. My body is a gift. This knowledge is a gift. I am a gift.
Yoga helps me appreciate my body. And it helps my body release old wounds that I do not want to carry around anymore. Regular yoga practice, in a class or by yourself, is a gift to yourself. Stretch gently into healing. Give yourself loving-kindness and freedom from the past. These women inspire me. I am grateful they gift themselves yoga. http://www.rebelcircus.com/blog/curvy-girls-nailed-yoga-poses/
This is part 5 of a 7 part series on self-care.

The Practice of Honor

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The Practice of Honor

“Why do you fight your tears? How would it feel to honor your tears?” my friend gently inquired.

Honor my tears? As in, welcome and embrace them? I couldn’t fathom what that would feel like. My whole life I had been frustrated with my propensity to cry – some would say I was tenderhearted. That sounds poetic, but I felt like a sloppy, blubbering mess of a woman. I cried when I was sad, angry, happy, menstruating; in short, anything and everything provided reason to cry. I know others judged me for some of the times I cried, but I judged myself EVERY time I cried. Each tear came from a deep well of shame and embarrassment. I did not bestow mercy or compassion upon myself, but rather self-loathing. I resisted and fought my tears because I was terrified that I would be labeled immature and out of control, exactly how I saw myself.

I was the only adult that I knew that cried as much as I did. Even on anti-depressants, I cried. The last psychiatrist I saw finally said to me, “Medicine can’t heal your broken heart.” Ten years of therapy, countless drugs later and I still had a broken heart? I didn’t know what to think of a broken heart. I had been looking outside of myself for a cure and found many band-aids, all unable to hold my wounds together. I started searching for how to heal my heart which led me to the friend that suggested I experience crying differently.

Hesitantly, I began the practice of honoring my tears, being thankful that I could cry. It was a pretty wild experience in the beginning because it was so radically different. It felt real and authentic. It brought freedom and relief.

Still in practice mode, a conversation prompted tears one Friday afternoon in April of 2006. That evening at dinner with friends, my tears continued. The next morning I burst into tears moments after waking up. I had a Tending Your Inner Garden workshop to attend. I tried to gain composure to no avail. I finally packed up my box of tissue, journal and water bottle and headed to the day-long retreat. I arrived 45 minutes late and a face full of evidence. My introduction of myself was this: “Hi, I am Angela, the crier. Nothing catastrophic happened, I am just crying. Ignore them if you can, but know that I am ok – these are healthy tears. “

By mid-afternoon the tears had subsided. Only to start up again that night and the next day, in fact, every day for a solid week, I cried. Sometimes they were soft and gentle tears while other times a tsunami. I understood, deep within me, that my heart was being cleansed in a profound way that I could not articulate.

All week I maintained my schedule and practiced honor. On day 8, when I wondered if I would cry forever, I noticed I could read a license plate across the parking lot. I put on my glasses and sure enough there was no difference! Had my eyes healed? Did crying do this?

Afraid it was a temporary fluke, a magic spell that would break, I kept it to myself for two weeks. Six years and 2 driving tests later, I am still without glasses. I believe that releasing my self- judgment and self-loathing created this spontaneous healing. There are many lessons that emerged from those 8 days.

In my practice of letting go and I allowed a new season to emerge – a season of profound healing.  As I dropped my metaphoric leaves, I gained clear vision on many levels and discovered the key to healing my heart was learning to honor and cherish my Self.  Just like the trees, I am deeply rooted in being myself all year long.

 

-Angela Rae Clark, 2006 TYIG seedling still finding ways to blossom. Angela is working on a book to share her personal healing journey that includes more spontaneous healing stories. Many of her experiences involve healing from memories of childhood rape and torture. She is grateful to have the TYIG tools to draw upon during this journey. Deb, Diane and the TYIG friends are a source of love and support. Angela offers support and teaching through her healing arts practice, The Ki Inside. www.TheKiInside.com.